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GLEAM Description


Sustainability Domains







2nd UNU-RIVM Workshop
Environmental Dimensions of Poverty
19-21 May 2003

Katmandu, Nepal

Workshop Background
Workshop Background Documents
Workshop Focus
Workshop Objectives
Workshop Programme
Workshop Venue: Kathmandu Hyatt Regency Hotel

Workshop Background
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were set forth by the international community under the United Nations umbrella in the year 2000 and were re-affirmed during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002. The MDGs give the highest priority to global poverty reduction efforts. This comes with the realization that abject poverty in many parts of the world remains the starkest challenge we face today. Not only is it directly apparent in the large numbers of people living on meager economic resources but it also has many indirect manifestations in their quality of life. This economic poverty is frequently linked to poor health services, inadequate supporting infrastructure, lack of education, over-exploitation of natural resources, lack of access to freshwater and sanitation, and a high degree of vulnerability to natural and manmade disasters.

We know that environmental conservation and sustainable use of ecosystem services play a key role in the human wellbeing as well as in poverty reduction. Understanding this relationship and quantifying the various factors and indicators is absolutely critical. Equally important is to be able to develop future scenarios based on state-of-art knowledge and successful strategies. The quantitative and qualitative evaluation of successful strategies requires reliable and appropriate tools that take into account the various linkages along the human-environment-economy nexus as well as account for institutional arrangements. Developing such tools is a major challenge ahead of us. It is essential that various researchers and scientists working on global assessments gather with policy makers and end users to brainstorm on ideas.

Poverty reduction must, therefore, be at the center-stage of our efforts and globally integrated assessment models can be used to define the appropriate strategic direction. By its definition, the GLEAM forum is meant to serve as a platform for such a dialogue.
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Workshop Focus
This workshop is meant to emphasize the importance of environmental resources and conservation in the efforts for poverty reduction. At the same time, it aims to identify tools and methods that can quantify the approaches for dealing with poverty. The workshop will comprise three major elements:

First, the emphasis will be on the concepts and applications that describe the links between poverty reduction and environmental conservation. A major element of the workshop will be focused on taking stock of our state of knowledge and identifying major gaps. Several on-going initiatives, such as the 'Poverty and Environment Initiative' (developed by UNDP and others), will be discussed in this context.

Second, policy and institutional issues will be discussed in the context of poverty reduction and environmental conservation nexus. The focus will be on reform and enhancement of policies that deal with improved governance, equitable economic growth, reduction of vulnerability and improved health services.

Third, discussion will focus on the research and policy needs for explicitly including poverty-environment linkages in global environmental assessment. Issues of model verification and uncertainty assessment will be discussed and appropriate approaches as well as indicators for verification will be considered. The role of various international institutions and organizations will be discussed with a view to develop prioritized recommendations for research. Concepts for regional research programmes to facilitate the above will also be discussed
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Workshop Objectives
The workshop has the following specific objectives:
  1. Developing an overview of the state of knowledge related to the use of environmental resources (or ecosystem services for human wellbeing) and the role of environmental conservation in poverty reduction;
  2. Identifying the existing environmental assessment modeling tools that address poverty reduction and elements related to human wellbeing;
  3. Identifying the research and policy needs to effectively evaluate poverty reduction efforts in the environmental context; and
  4. Developing recommendations for modeling communities to provide reliable and effective tools for quantitatively evaluating sustainable development and poverty reduction scenarios.
The workshop proceedings and recommendations will be published after the workshop. It is anticipated that the workshop recommendations will be instrumental in developing research studies and projects under the GLEAM umbrella.
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Workshop Programme
The workshop will be primarily conducted with brief plenary presentations and breakout working groups leading to specific outcomes and recommendations. The plenary sessions will be utilized to highlight the key issues and formulate the findings and recommendations of the workshop. A general outline of the workshop is given here:

Monday, 19 May 2003
08:30-09:00 Registration
09:00-10:00 Opening Ceremony
  • Message from the UNU Rector
  • Message from Mr. Henning Karcher, UNDP Resident Representative
  • Dr. Bert de Vries, RIVM
10:00-10:30 Coffee Break
10:30-11:30 Session 1: Concepts of Poverty-Environment Linkages
11:30-12:30 Discussion on Session 1
12:30-14:00 Lunch
14:00-16:00 Session 2: Breakout Working Groups
  • Evaluation of existing poverty reduction strategies (linkage with MDG's)
  • Integration poverty reduction strategies into macroeconomic policies
  • Approaches for "mainstreaming" environmental issues in economic policies (focus: improved governance, economic growth, vulnerability reduction, health services)
16:00-16:30 Coffee Break
16:30-17:00 Plenary - Summary from Session 2 and Discussion

Tuesday, 20 May 2003
09:00-10:00 Session 3: Integrated Poverty-Environment Assessment Approaches
10:00-10:30 Discussion on Session 3
10:30-11:00 Coffee Break
11:00-12:00 Session 4: Breakout Working Groups
  • Bringing policies and institutions into assessment modeling
  • Existing modeling tools for social-environmental-economic assessment
  • Approaches for thematic integration - proposals for pilot studies
12:00-13:30 Lunch
13:30-18:00 Excursion in Kathmandu

Wednesday, 21 May 2003
09:00-09:30 Plenary - Summary from Session 4 and Discussion
09:30-10:30 Session 5: Research needs and future strategies
10:30-11:00 Coffee Break
11:00-12:00 Session 6: Breakout Working Groups
  • Focus on indicators for poverty-environment-development nexus
  • Effective communication strategies with policymaker
  • Development of assessment tools, incorporating verification and uncertainties
12:00-13:30 Lunch
13:30-14:30 Formulation of Recommendations
(Approaches for environmentalizing poverty reduction strategies, capacity development for tools for integrated assessment, prioritization of research needs)

14:30-15:30 Closing Ceremony
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For more information, please contact Dr. Zafar Adeel
(Please note that this workshop is open only to GLEAM Forum Members)

Last Updated: 16 May 2003